Skip to main content

Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

See other formats

H                          BYZANTINE CHURCHES                       CHAP.
which has no gallery, there is only one string-course, corresponding in level to the original gallery string-course ; accordingly the main arches are highly stilted above it. The absence of the second string-course is a faulty development, for a string-course at the vault level would be a functional member, whereas at the gallery level it is meaningless.
In the Panachrantos (p. 130), as well as in other churches without a gallery, the gallery string-course is omitted by a more logical development,1 and the string-course at the springing of the vault is retained. Openings which do not cut into the vault are then frankly arched, without impost moulding of any kind. Simple vaulted halls, narthexes, and passages have usually a string-course at the vaulting level, broken round shallow pilasters as at the Chora, S. Theodosia, and the Myrelaion. Sometimes the stringcourses or the pilasters or both are omitted, and their places are respectively taken by horizontal and vertical bands. Decorative pilasters flush with the wall are employed in the marble incrustation of S. Sophia.
In churches of the * four column' type the full triple division is common but with a change in purpose. A gallery in a church of this character is not possible, for the piers between which the gallery was placed have dwindled into single shafts. Hence the first string-course ceases to mark a gallery level and becomes the abacus level of the dome columns, as in the north and in the south churches of the Pantokrator. It is then carried round the building, and forms the impost moulding of the side arches in the bema and of the east window. Sometimes, however, it does not extend round the bema and apse but is confined to the central part of the church, as in the Myrclaion, S* Theodore, and the Pantepoptes, On the other hand, in at least one case, the parecclesion of the Pammakaristos, the central part of the chapel is designed in the usual three tiers, but the apse and bema vaults spring from the lower or abacus string-course, leaving a lunette in the dome arch above pierced by a large window. A corresponding lunette at the west end opens into the gynecaeum of the chapel. In S. John in Trullo the two string-courses